When I talk about my love for the slow cooker, people frequently tell me that they either A) don’t own a slow cooker or B) have one and don’t use it.
I’m sorry…. no comprendo.
The slow cooker is, in my humble opinion, the best kitchen appliance ever. Here are a few reasons why I love it soooo much:
- SUPER SIMPLE to use. Just dump everything in and turn it on.
- No cooking skills required (see above)
- Can be left unattended. Set it in the AM and come home to a hot meal.
- Less dishes to wash
- You can pretty much cook anything in it
- Perfect for warmer weather because it doesn’t heat up the kitchen
My favorite things to cook in my Crock Pot are large cuts of meat because those take so long to cook in the oven… but I’ve also made veggie dishes, oatmeal, desserts, soups, cooked fruits and pretty much anything else you can think of.
While it’s easy to use, I do think there’s a bit of a learning curve for each slow cooker. I’ve had plenty of slow cooker disasters, actually. Every slow cooker is a little different so even if you’re following a recipe, I always recommend being home when you’re cooking a specific cut of meat for the first time so you can keep an eye on how it’s cooking.
A few tips if you’re new to the slow cooker game:
I recommend a programmable slow cooker, such as this one (<—affiliate link), so that you have more control over the cooking.
Remember that easily cook-able items, such as spinach or pasta, may do better if you add them at the end rather than cooking them all day.
Tougher cuts of meat (like roasts and ribs) tend to do the best cooking all day on a low heat. That’s not to say that you can’t cook other cuts of meat in the slow cooker but just be aware that cooking them for a long time might dry them out.
Dairy and the slow cooker don’t tend to mix very well, so add these types of things at the very end
Like I said above, I’ve always found for my specific slow cooker that things cook a lot more quickly than recipe cooking times. It took a few dried up meals for me to figure this out.
A Simple Slow Cooker Recipe
One of my favorite things to cook in my Crock Pot is a whole chicken. It’s so much simpler than cooking in the oven and I’m not tempted to eat the skin since it doesn’t get crispy like it does in the oven.
All I do is :
1. Layer my slow cooker with vegetables (I generally use potatoes, onions, carrots and mushrooms)
2. Sprinkle them with seasoning (salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, italian seasoning, etc.)
3. Sit my chicken on top of the vegetables
4. Rub with seasoning
5. Cook on low for 5 hours
This is basically the most simple meal ever and you get a ton of leftovers. Last night, I pulled all of the chicken off of the bone and left all of the broth in the crock pot. It made a great stew!
You can check out my recipes page for an amazing baked apples slow cooker recipe as well as a few other tips!
Do you have a slow cooker?
Do you love to use it?
Have a great day!